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Duke Energy electric bills to increase in March due to storm recovery costs

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Duke Energy customers in Florida will see slightly higher electric rates come March.

The Florida Public Service Commission has approved Duke Energy Florida’s request to collect millions of dollars to cover the costs related to 2019 Hurricane Dorian and Tropical Storm Nestor, the commission announced in a press release Tuesday.

The company was seeking $171 million for Hurricane Dorian and $400,000 for Tropical Storm Nestor, including interest.

Effective March 2020 through February 2021, Duke Energy customers will see an increase of $5.34 per 1,000 kWh of electricity on a typical monthly bill.

PSC Chairman Gary Clark explained that the higher bills will cover the cost to mobilize utility workers.

“Florida utilities had to mobilize a significant workforce to prepare for possible storm damage and be positioned to restore power as quickly as possible following Hurricane Dorian and Tropical Storm Nestor,” Clark said. “We will continue to scrutinize storm costs to minimize the impact on customer bills and ensure that Florida remains the leader in disaster preparation and post-storm restoration.”

Approximately 7,800 employees and contractors were prepared to restore power following Hurricane Dorian, which killed more than 60 people, caused $7 billion in damages, and cut off power to roughly 24,000 Duke Energy customers.

Duke Energy serves about 1.8 million customers in Florida.

The new charge is subject to refund as the PRC reviews the costs. The final amount to be recovered will be determined at a later date.

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